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Beat the heat – senior centers offer more than just a place to stay cool

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YORK, Pa. -- Another day of 90 degree-plus weather has many looking for ways to escape the heat.

The sizzling temps are often especially troublesome for senior citizens.

Several senior and community centers around central Pennsylvania are inviting older people to come in and stay cool.

An offer to drop by the Yorktown Senior Center and enjoy some free A/C on a 90 degree day , is one that's just too good to refuse for Betty Roach.

Senior Betty Roach said "at home, I can't adjust hardly anything. I put the air conditioner on, and sometimes it's enough, but toward dinner, it gets so hot."

Yorktown Senior Center director Nancy Wert said "it's awful. We have people that walk here everyday, so a lot of them, we'll tell them we'll pick them up."

Community centers like September House offer seniors more than just a place to hang out a hot day. Not only can people meet old friends and make new ones, but it can be a lifesaver for those with health issues.

"Asthma, a lot of them have all kinds of issues with breathing. Some of them use oxygen, so for them, when it's muggy days like this, it's life altering for them," Wert said.

Even with a rise in temperatures, some people don't go in and cool off.

September House executive director Susan Jones said "we have a few people who would stay here 24/7, probably if we let them. Other than those few individuals, it really doesn't change anything, which is sad, because we're here to help out, but people don't take advantage of it."

"There are programs to help them with heating, there are not programs to help them with air conditioning, maybe that's something that should be happening," Wert said.

Roach has a few other ways to conserve energy, save money, and stay cool.

"I had a fan behind me, with a bottle of ice cubes, and that throws the cold air over the back of me, so that's the way I have to do," Roach said.

There are lots of activities for seniors at places like the Yorktown Senior Center or September House, but the Jones said many older people also like to  hang out at the mall to keep cool.